Let's face it, we ignore our feet. We might give them a quick scrub in the shower, then we forget about them. Until they get itchy and dry, cracked and sore.
I'm no exception. My feet are in pretty bad shape. When the Feet Challenge came up on Instructables, it motivated me to do something about it. I Googled "D.I.Y. foot care" and started reading recipes and articles about different ingredients and the benefits they are believed to have.
Unfortunately, that's as far as I got. Other stuff got in the way, like always, and my feet were once again forgotten. I finally got a couple of days to myself and decided to get busy and do something. I never got out to buy some of the ingredients I had planned to use, but I raided the cupboards and found enough ingredients to go ahead and make up some of my own, homemade foot care remedies.
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Step 1: Soothing Foot Soak
Taking care of your feet should always begin with a good soak. Plain old hot water will do a wonderful job, but adding a few extra ingredients makes it even more beneficial.
1 cup of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
1/2 cup of sea salt (or table salt)
1/2 cup of Epsom Salts (Magnesium Chloride)
Some measuring cups, a bowl, a spoon and a jar for storing it.
Optional: A few drops of an essential oil, such as lavender.
Mix the baking soda, salt and Epsom Salt together. Add the essential oil if using and blend well. Transfer to a mason jar or other air tight container for storage.
To use, add about 1/4 cup to a basin filled with hot water and soak feet for 30 minutes or so (however long it feels comfortable to you).
Benefits: Reduces pain and swelling, helps to control bacteria and odour.
Bonus: Throw some marbles in and massage your feet while you soak by rolling them around. I just put the big blue one in there for decorative purposes, but it is actually great for massaging the arch of the foot. Just position your foot on top of it, press down lightly and roll it back and forth. (You can do the same thing with a tennis ball on the floor when finished soaking.)
Note: I bought this bag of lavender scented Epsom Salts thinking it would be an easy way to add a nice, relaxing lavender aroma to my soak. Not only does it not smell at all like lavender, it is actually quite unpleasant. It also seems to have permanently impregnated my new silicone spoon with this aroma. So I highly recommend buying plain old Epsom Salts and adding your own fragrance.
Step 2: Gingerbread Coffee Scrub
After soaking, while your feet are still wet, is the time to exfoliate. There are several options for making exfoliating scrubs, and I debated which to use for awhile. The most popular are sugar and salt, but I wanted to do something different. I finally settled on this coffee scrub because I have some old, stale coffee that is no good to drink anymore and this was a good way to use it.
1 cup of ground coffee, fresh or used
1/4 cup of brown sugar
2-3 Tablespoons each of ginger, cinnamon and cloves
Coconut oil and molasses (to be added later)
Mix everything except the oil and molasses together and put in a jar or air tight container for storage.
When ready to use, take a small amount of the dry mix (I used about 1/8 cup, which is enough for two uses) and add 1 tsp each of coconut oil and molasses. Apply to wet feet, after soaking or showering, and rub gently.
Benefits: Antioxidant, antibacterial and antifungal. Exfoliates and moisturizes. May help to reduce pain and boost circulation as well.
Note: This is an extremely messy scrub, but it smells amazing and makes your skin feel great. Just be sure to use it in the bathtub or with your feet in a basin and some water for rinsing next to you. To make it less messy, use previously brewed coffee.
I took some photos of of my hand to demonstrate. As you can see, it is very messy and gooey, but it leaves no trace behind after rinsing. (Full disclosure: It took a lot more water than what that little saucer will hold. I actually rinsed the majority of it off in the bathroom.)
Step 3: Frozen Foot Balm
I wasn't able to get out to buy any of the ingredients that I saw in foot cream recipes online, such as Shea butter or beeswax. This is a fun way I came up with to use what I had available.
Equal parts olive oil and coconut oil. (I used 1/4 cup of each.)
Optional: essential oil or fragrance of choice. (I used 3 tsp of peppermint extract.)
Blend the oils together with a whisk or spoon until the coconut oil has dissolved. Add any other oils or fragrances you are using.
Pour into a container that you can put in the freezer. I used this little silicone tube that is meant for making popsicles, which worked beautifully, but anything that you can freeze will do.
After about an hour it should be solid. At this point, you can leave it in the freezer or store it in the fridge.
To use, simply apply a small amount to the area you want to moisturizer.
At first I tried to just hold the silicone mold upside down and rub it on, but this proved to be too difficult so I decided to slice it into little disks instead. The coconut oil liquefies very quickly, as you can see. I had trouble keeping the slice on top of my hand long enough to get the picture. It solidifies just as quickly once returned to the freezer. The amount left on my skin after taking the photos was more than enough to do both hands, so a little goes a long way.
Benefits: Softens and smooths the skin, seals in moisture, helps to repair cracked skin.
Note: For a softer, less firm balm, use 2 parts olive oil to one part coconut oil. Both of these oils will work just fine on their own as well.
Step 4: The Results
I was hoping to have some pictures to show how everything worked. Unfortunately, my feet are not fit for public viewing at this time. I haven't had enough time to apply my homemade remedies.
I can say that the first time I used the foot soak, I felt an instant improvement. It didn't visibly reduce the swelling, but I was able to move my feet and wiggle and stretch my toes much easier than before. And it temporarily reduce the pain.
I had a slight mishap when using the coffee scrub which resulted in abandoning my scrubbing in order to mop up the water on the living room floor. So I didn't really get much chance to try it yet.
The most noticeable improvement has been from the frozen balm. Not so much on my feet, but my hands are soft, shiny and silky smooth. I hope to see similar results on my feet eventually. (It may take awhile.)
That's all for now. I ran out of daylight and was unable to finish my photos, plus there are some more things I wanted to try and didn't manage to get to yet. Hopefully I will be able to add them in the next couple of days. If not, then I'll just have to save it for another Instructable.
Thanks for reading and please leave your comments and suggestions below. :-)
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